By adopting a national climate plan, Brazil takes the lead among newly industrialising countries
An important signal for the climate change conference in Poznan
Federal Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel welcomes the "national plan on climate change" announced by Brazilian President Lula da Silva and declares himself impressed by Brazil's new climate policy. Prospects are good for climate protection at the moment: US President-elect Obama intends to compete with the EU to become the global leader in climate protection and Brazil is getting ready as well. President Lula is committing himself to climate protection as he has understood that there can be no economic development that runs counter to climate protection and that there will be no agreement on a comprehensive climate regime without substantial contributions from the newly industrialising countries.
Brazil's national climate plan marks a change of direction in the climate policy of the South American country. It is the first time that a newly industrialising country sets itself concrete national emission reduction targets - albeit voluntary ones for the moment. Brazil's concept focusses especially on emissions from deforestation. They are to be reduced gradually by 72 percent by the year 2017. Large-scale afforestation should completely off-set deforestation from 2015 onwards. Additional measures are planned in the energy sector in order to enhance energy efficiency and to expand the use of renewable energies and biofuels.
Germany supports Brazil to implement the climate plan. "In the context of our international climate protection initiative, we have started this year to provide funding for a number of activities in Brazil. These activities are for example about protecting the Atlantic rain forests, replacing highly climate-damaging coolants in refrigerators or expanding the use of solar energy," said Sigmar Gabriel.
Brazil's decision comes at the right time. The UN climate change conference is currently underway in Poznan, Poland, and runs until the end of the week. This conference should pave the way for a new global climate agreement to be adopted in Copenhagen in one year's time. Germany and the EU are in favour of ambitious reduction targets for the industrialised countries. At the same time, they would like to hear more clear messages from the newly industrialising countries on what climate protection measures they are willing to adopt - including with the support of industrialised countries.
Funding for the Federal Environment Ministry's international climate protection initiative comes from the auctioning of allowances in the framework of the European emissions trading scheme. Thanks to the initiative, an additional 120 million euro per year can be used for climate protection projects in developing, newly industrialising and transition countries.
Projects include measures to establish a climate-friendly industry, protect natural carbon sinks (in particular the large forests of the Earth) and adapt to the consequences of climate change. In this way, the Federal Environment Ministry effectively contributes to mitigation and adaptation. This new model of environmental cooperation comes to complement the Federal Government's existing development cooperation which dedicates around one billion euro to climate protection.